This volume examines dynamic interactions between the calculative and speculative practices of commerce and the fruitfulness, variability, materiality, liveliness and risks of nature. It does so in diverse environments caught up in new trading relationships forged on and through frontiers for agriculture, forestry, mining and fishing. Historical resource frontiers are understood in terms of commercial knowledge systems organized as projects to transform landscapes and environments. The book asks: how were environments traded, and with what environmental and landscape consequences? How have environments been engineered, standardized and transformed within past trading systems? What have been the successes and failures of economic knowledge in dealing with resource production in complex environments? It considers cases from northern Europe, North and South America, Central Africa and New Zealand in the period between 1750 and 1990, and the contributors reflect on the effects of transnational commodity chains, competing economic knowledge systems, environmental ignorance and learning, and resource exploitation. In each case they identify tensions, blind spots, and environmental learning that plagued commercial projects on frontiers.

part Part I|44 pages


chapter 1|26 pages

Commercial Knowledge and Environmental Transformation on and through Frontiers

ByGordon M. Winder, Andreas Dix

chapter 2|16 pages

Consumption History and Changing Environments

ByAndreas Dix

part Part II|38 pages

Frontier Environments

chapter 3|22 pages

New Frontiers and Natural Resources in Southern South America, c. 1820–1870

Examples from Northwest European Mercantile Enterprise
ByStephen Bell

chapter 4|14 pages

Opening up Untouched Woodlands

Forestry Experts Reflecting on and Driving the Timber Frontier in Northern Europe, 1880–1914
ByChristian Lotz

part Part III|110 pages

Valuing Environments

chapter 6|20 pages

Valuing Wetlands and Peatlands

Mires in the Natural Resource and Land Use Policies in the Nordic Countries from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Present Day
ByEsa Ruuskanen

chapter 7|28 pages

Lands for Settlement, Forests, and Scenic Reserves

Nature and Value in New Zealand, 1890s to 1920s
ByMichael Roche

part Part IV|68 pages

Competing Modernist Logics

chapter 9|21 pages

Industrializing Forests and Naturalizing Industrialization

Forests, Pulp Wood, and Environmental Transformations, 1860–1930
ByMathias Mutz

chapter 10|24 pages

Trading Degradation for Conservation

Revaluing Rural Landscapes in the American South
ByCraig E. Colten

chapter 11|21 pages

Destruction of the American Fishing Industry

ByCarmel Finley

part Part V|12 pages

Environmental Trading

chapter 12|10 pages

Frontier Exchanges

Commercial Calculation and Environmental Transformation
ByGordon M. Winder, Andreas Dix